These New York City museums allow you to use your discretion when paying admission. Of course, they rely on income from admission to present their collections and do their work, but you can pay what you can afford (or what you feel represents your visit to the museum) with the suggested admission policy. At most of these museums the full-price admission price is posted, but you can tell the cashier how much you want to pay and they will admit you. I've done this several times when I am just visiting a museum for a brief period of time. Do note: you can't purchase tickets online for less than the suggested admission.
- American Museum of Natural History
The suggested adult admission at the American Museum of Natural History is $19, but you can make whatever contribution you see as appropriate to enter the museum (though you'll have to pay full price for planetarium shows, IMAX films and special exhibits).
Address: Central Park West at West 79th Street | Phone: 212-769-5000
- Brooklyn Museum
One of the oldest and largest art museums in the world, the Brooklyn Museum is housed in a beautiful Beaux-Arts building. The suggested admission is $12 to see not only the museum's permanent collection, but also a range of ever-changing exhibits that are often amazing.
Address: 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn | Phone: 718-638-5000
- El Museo del Barrio
Located in East Harlem, El Museo del Barrio collects and exhibits Caribbean, Latino, and Latin American art. The museum's suggested admission of $9 offers you the opportunity to explore both temporary exhibits, as well as displays from the museum's permanent collection.
Address: 1230 Fifth Avenue (104th Street) | Phone: 212-831-7272
- Metropolitan Museum of Art & The Cloisters
Although they raised the suggested admission to $25, you can pay what you can afford to see one of the greatest art museums in New York City.
The Met - Address: 1000 Fifth Avenue | Phone: 212-535-7710
The Cloisters - Address: 99 Margaret Corbin Drive, Fort Tryon Park | Phone: 212-923-3700
- MoMA PS1
PS1 exhibits contemporary art in a former Public School in Long Island City, Queens. Suggested admission is $10, which gains you access to temporary exhibitions, as well as long-term exhibits at the museum. Admission is also free for MoMA ticket holders within 30 days.
Address: 22-25 Jackson Ave. at 46th Ave., Long Island City | Phone: 718-784-2084
- Museum of the City of New York
The Museum of the City of New York features a permanent collection and changing exhibits about the history of this fascinating city. They suggest visitors pay $10, and offer free admission to people who live or work above 103rd Street in East Harlem.
Address: 1220 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street | Phone: 212-534-1672
- Queens Museum
The Queens Museum of Art collects and exhibits art reflecting the urban experience, with an emphasis on artists working and living in New York City and Queens. Suggested admission of $8 gives you a chance to see their most famous exhibit, The Panorama of the City of New York built by Robert Moses for the 1964 World's Fair.
Address: New York City Building, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens | Phone: 718-592-9700
- Sculpture Center
Founded in 1928, the Sculpture Center collects and commissions contemporary sculpture, and exhibits work by emerging and established sculptors. A donation of $5 is suggested for admission to this Queens museum open Thursday - Monday from 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Address: 4419 Purves Street, Long Island City, Queens | Phone: 718-361-1750
- Staten Island Museum
The Staten Island Museum prides itself on dynamic exhibits highlighting its multidisciplinary collection related to natural science, art, and history. Suggested admission is just $5.
Address: 75 Stuyvesant Place, Staten Island | Phone: 718-727-1135
- The Studio Museum of Harlem
The Studio Museum of Harlem asks for a $7 suggested donation to see their exhibits which focus on the works of local, national and international artists of African descent.
Address: 144 West 125th Street | Phone: 212-864-4500
- Tibet House
The Tibet House Cultural Center features exhibits of classical and contemporary Tibetan art, as well as art inspired by Tibetan culture. Admission is free, but there is a box to contribute your donation ($5 suggested).
Address: 22 West 15th Street | Phone: 212-807-0565